Sidor som bilder

have been penned on account of the ark's ascension to Zion, the resting-place of Israel, and the dwelling-place of the Most High.

lenting about Simeon; also Joseph thought his father Jacob would much less feel Simeon's being bound than any other of his sons; therefore Simeon was bound and put into prison. There was an opportunity for him now to reflect upon all his evil deeds-whether it was to the humbling of his spirit is not said; but when the brethren returned with Benjamin, Simeon was released. Simeon sowed cruelty and he reaped accordingly; let this be remembered by us-it is not possible to avoid sustaining injury ourselves when we inflict injury upon others. This is one of the dark consequences of the Fall. I gladly turn from it, and invite my readers' attention to two things. First, to the triumphs of mercy over the evil results of sin; and secondly, to the faithful fulfilment of every part of the Word of God. Read the following from Thornley Smith's "History of Joseph." He says: "Israel's curse did not fall upon the persons of Simeon and Levi, nor yet upon the persons of their children



TWELVE SIGNS IN THE BIBLICAL and posterity, but only on their sin.


(Continued from page 180.)

Would no sad consequences, then, follow from their conduct? Hear the old man's words: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.' 'If you mark,' says Bishop Andrewes, in a singular but admirable sermon on this passage, the punishment is very proper, and well-proportioned to their fault. Their fault was a bad union; their punishment is a just division. Their fault was "hand in hand," they were too near; their punishment is, they shall be set far enough asunder, for taking any such counsel any more. So whom the devil hath joined, God puts in sunder. And a righteous thing it is it should so be. For punishments should have in them the nature of medicine: they cure ever by contraries; heat by cold, drought by moisture. Even as this doth-an evil joining by a just dispersion.'

The manner of Christ's ascension, or in what sense He might be said to ascend: not figuratively, as God is said to go down and to go up, Gen. xi. 6, and xvii. 22, nor in appearance only, as it might seem to beholders, but in reality and truth; nor was it a disappearance merely, as in Luke xxiv. 31, nor was it in a visionary way, as the Apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven; nor in a spiritual manner, in mind and affection, in which sense saints ascend to heaven, when in spiritual frames of soul; but really, visibly, and locally; this ascension of Christ was a real motion of his human nature, which was visible to the apostles, and was by change of place, even from earth to heaven.

Is the few remarks I have made on Simeon's character, I hope I have been under the influence of the best of all teachers; and in going somewhat further, I pray to be instrumental in laying open another page of that deeply-hidden wisdom which lays within the folds of that heavenly register, the WORD OF GOD. I will not this month digress, if I can hold the reins of my thoughts tight enough. I must be brief; for we are in deep waters, and where the "VESSEL" may be driven none on earth can tell.

In Simeon, see, first of all, a picture of the hardness and cruelty of some men's hearts. See, secondly, how true it is, that what a man sows that shall he also reap. Jarchi says that it was Simeon who said to Levi, when little Joseph approached them, "Jacob here speaks as a prophet, and "Behold, this dreamer cometh;" and that the prophets are often said to do what they it was Simeon who cast Joseph into the predict. This prophecy was literally fulpit, and would have killed him outright. filled. On the division of the land of CaSuch was Simeon's cruelty. He was a naan, the tribe of Simeon received an inman of a fierce and desperate disposition. heritance within the inheritance of the When, therefore, we read, in Genesis xlii., children of Judah (Josh. xix. 1), which, that Joseph would take one of Jacob's however, became too small, so that it is sons and keep him as prisoner, while the supposed that they were 'under the necesothers went to carry corn and bring down sity of frequently emigrating from their Benjamin, the historian says, "Joseph own part of the country, to seek a resitook from them Simeon, and bound him dence and bread for their families amongst before their eyes.” It is thought Joseph their brethren of the other tribes.' (See saw there was still a hardness and unre- 1 Chron. iv. 41-43.) There is a Jewish

the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren: the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him." In a worldly and temporal point of view, I have said, they were a sort of outcasts; they had no share in the land. And how true this is of the greater portion of the Lord's ministers to this day. I know many of them, poor fellows! they have no palaces, nor 6000l. per annum pensions; they have neither houses nor lands; they have neither farms nor fruitful fields. The rising or falling of the funds is not a matter noticed by them. Their inheritance, generally speaking, is the Bible, the throne of grace, the gospel of Christ, and the hearts and the prayers of a few poor people, among whom they live and labour, and from whose hard earnings is derived the small pittance whereby the "earthly house" of the poor Levite is kept together. Could you look into his cottage-(beg pardon, I mean his parsonage)-on many days in the week, you might have full proof that he is both a teetotaller and a vegetarian; for a small piece of bread, a few nice potatoes, and a glass of clear cold water makes up his healthy and his economical meal; and for the most part he is therewith content. It is quite possible that when the poor provincial Levite hears his noble and valiant metropolitan brother exclaim in the pulpit at P R, “I have 1800 congregation and 700 members, and they keep me well!"-I say, it is just possible that a little sprig of old Adam's weed, called carnally coveting," might then spring up, and he might almost wish some such portion had fallen to him; but he may wish long enough in such days as these, when churches and chapels are nearly as thick as the streets, and when popular parsons are every day coming into such amazing notoriety that no places can hardly be found large enough for the crowds who flock to feed upon the dainties there provided. Nay, indeed, from all that I have seen for many years, if a man be sent to work in the Lord's vineyard (unless he have some extraordinary natural gift; unless he marry some very rich wife; unless he be called to stand in the well-prepared shoes of another, as the Manchester Standard-bearer stands in the shoes of his venerable predecessor; or, unless he be left executor to a property for which no owner can be found unless some of

"Simeon and Levi are brethren." Of this Old Testament Simeon there really is but little said of a cheering character; but he is joined with Levi, and although Moses says not one word of Simeon, he has a most remarkable prediction respecting Levi. (See Deut. xxxiii. 8-11.) A more gio. rious prediction of the character and work of the gospel ministry I never have found, nor do I think the Old Testament furnishes anything more brilliant, more comprehensive, or more correct, Here is a sign indeed of the first magnitude-an hieroglyphical star hung up in the biblical heavens, wherein every feature of a true and living ministry is drawn by the Spirit of the true and living God. This Levitical prediction is "a bundle of myrrh" I never saw untied yet. If the Lord would open it to me, and in me, I shall cheerfully give to my readers all that is given to me; but I feel my mental and spiritual destitution so deeply, that I really fear to approach a mystery so sublime. If any of my brethren have clearer light into this Word than I may be favoured with, I truly hope they will be enabled so to throw in their light as to remove all the darkness and difficulty hovering over my mind. I would consider the prediction in the following order: 1. The tribe of Levi as representing the separated and sanctified servants of God, and officers in the maintenance of the worship of his house. The Levites were a kind of outcasts. In the settlement of the land of Canaan, the sons of Levi had no share in the division; they had no inheritance with their brethren. How strong and emphatic is that Seripture" At that time, the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before these "accidentals," as they are called,


tradition in the Targum of Jerusalem to the effect that multitudes of Simeon's posterity were scattered among the other tribes in the capacity of teachers, so that the Hebrews were accustomed to say that every poor scribe and schoolmaster was a Simeonite.' Then, as to the tribe of Levi, it had no inheritance in the land; but 'the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the Lord, cities and suburbs,' so that they were indeed scattered throughout the country. (See Josh. xxi. 3.) Their punishment, however, was turned into a blessing; for they were chosen to perform the services of the tabernacle, and Jehovah himself became their inheritance."

fall into his lap), he must be resigned to be | sisters, lands, &c.; but if not in kind, it shall be in equivalency: he shall enjoy more in God than all creatures would be to him were they multiplied an hundredfold. The gifts and graces, the comforts and consolations of the Holy Spirit, are a thousand times sweeter and better portion than all the houses and lands this world contains.

"a respectable, well-dressed country pastor, passing rich at twenty pounds a-year." But what of that? If the Lord be his inheritance, the unsearchable riches of Christ are his eternally; and with him, at last, it must be well,


"Levi and his sons," says Dr. Hawker, were all types of our LORD JESUS, JEHOVAH'S HOLY ONE." They were also types of all Christ's true ambassadors; and then the first feature noted of them is POVERTY, as regards an earthly inheritance. Take the Bible, and read therein how the word "POOR" stands identified with every-midst of them all I have many times been one's worldly position who has been called so enriched in soul-feeling by the unfoldto do business in the spiritual vineyard of ing of Divine truth, and have been so the Lord. It is emphatically declared of favoured in preaching and in private conTHE MASTER, "Ye know the grace of our verse with the living in Jerusalem, that I Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was could not wish to exchange my position rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, with the richest worldling on earth. that ye through his poverty might be rich." While on this point, I must refer to one In connection with this, do you mark the scripture which has for some years been a strong sympathy Christ has with the poor? trouble to and a witness against me. Paul, He says, "I will feed the flock of slaugh- in his second epistle to Timothy, says, ter, even you, O poor of the flock." "Thou therefore endure hardness as a was "the poor" of the flock that waited good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man upon the LORD, and they knew his Word. that warreth entangleth himself with the "Unto the poor was the Gospel preached," affairs of this life; that he may please and it was preached by them that were him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." poor; for the first disciples said, "Lo! we This scripture has for years stood point have left all, and have followed thee." blank against me; because when the first They left ships, boats, nets, and all, and church was formed over whom I was paswent after Christ. And Paul could say, tor, a kind gentleman distinctly offered to "for whom I have suffered the loss of all secure to me 801. per annum if I would things." And what was Christ's answer? leave the printing business and devote "Verily, I say unto you, there is no man myself entirely to the ministry. But I had that hath left house or brethren, or sisters, a young family, and many fears as regards or father, or mother, or wife, or children, my ministry; and I had not confidence or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, to believe that the Lord would supply my but he shall receive an hundred-fold now, needs; wherefore I refused, and resolved in this time, houses, and brethren, and to keep close to my trade, still preaching sisters, and mothers, and children, and every Lord's day, and sometimes in the lands, with persecutions, and in the world week. But, from that very rejection of an to come ETERNAL LIFE." How can such a offer so noble and needful, I trace all the declaration be understood? Where shall dreadful troubles that befell me. Judging I turn to find a true exposition of such a from circumstances, if I had left my busiscripture? Some men, in modern times, ness, given myself up to the Lord, and his have had very little to leave for Christ's work, I should never have known those sake. They worked hard in manual labour dreadful sorrows which afterwards befell for a few shillings per week; now they me. A cleaving to my business, and trywork gloriously in the Gospel, and receive ing to do more than I could do, has thrown bountiful remunerations. Look at the low those chains around me that I sometimes estate of William Huntington, William fear never can be removed. I write these Gadsby, John Warburton, and many I things only as cautions to the many thoumight name, but I forbear. Still the sands of young men now coming up into question returns, Is Christ's answer in the ministry. To them, I say, first, be Mark x. 29 to be understood literally? sure, by prayer, by close self-examination, One saith, Christ doth not mean literally by a diligent observance of all Providenthat a man shall receive a hundred brethren, tial dealings, and by the use the Lord


My own path has been one of unusually heavy trial, For above thirty years I have had wave after wave: my own sinful heart, and ever-willing hands, have made for me a succession of heavy sorrows; but in the

makes of you among his people, that the | selves? No! they are "his workmanship, Lord has chosen you to be a soldier. Do created in Christ Jesus." They are quick"The Son not you run about asking the churches to ened. Who quickened them? enlist you but if the churches will run quickeneth whom He will." They are after you, if they press you into their begotten. What! by their own act or service-if in that service the dew of will? No! "Of his own will begat he heaven rests upon you-if the liberty of us with the word of truth." Now it may the Spirit be enjoyed by you-if the saints be said, all this is granted. So it is, and continue to receive you-if the word of the contradicted in the next paragraph, and Lord is opened in you, and successfully the very opposite contended for. And then proclaimed by you,- then, secondly, be the question is asked, "Why require what careful how you become entangled with is impossible?" God has not been pleased those secular matters which may injure to reveal the why. But He hath declared you bodily, spiritually, and circumstanti- the impossibility (1 Cor. ii. 14). Then, ally; for no man can possibly serve two again, God hath not lost his right to demand obedience, or to command repentance, though man has lost all power to obey; yea, his very impotency is his sin; for God made man perfect. But under the influence of the carnal mind, man always thinks his own inventions best.


I am compelled abruptly here to leave this part of the subject, but, the Lord permitting, you shall hear again next month from CHAS. WATERS BANKS.


The man with the one talent, in the gospel, charged his master unjustly when DEAR MR. EDITOR, -I am far from he said, "Thou art an austere man; thou thinking that the admission of such takest up that thou layedst not down, pieces as that by "Let's have all the and reapest that thou didst not sow." All Truth," and "Anti-Bigotry," is a great who contend for duty-faith and repentance boon to the readers of the "VESSEL." If appear to have the very same idea, and to their views be the truth, they might sign be in the very same position. Out of their their names; or are they ashamed of their own mouth may they be judged. And what gospel? I am not ashamed of the gospel saith the Lord concerning such ?-Go, do of Christ, nor of being known as one who your duty, and make two talents of the one? adheres to the exhortation of Jude "Ear-No! but, "take away the talent, and give nestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." And at the outset I may ask-How can it be the duty of man to possess that which is alone the gift of God? Repentance is the gift of God (Acts v. 31, xi. 18). Faith is also the gift of God (Eph. ii. 8). And while the Lord Jesus said, "No man can come to me, unless the Father which hath sent me draw him ;"" Men fancy they can obey most of God's and, "All that the Father giveth me shall commands. There is one, however, which come to me,"-I would sooner take his I find generally stops them, viz. 'Make words than all the words of all the duty- you a new heart' (Ezek. xviii. 31). This faith men in the world. For He hath they usually acknowledge to be impossaid, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, sible; and yet until they have that heart but my words shall not pass away." And they will never do or think anything that I do not hesitate to say, whosoever asserts is good; for from the old or natural heart or teaches such doctrines, contradicts, and nothing can come but evil." (Mark vii. 21, gives the lie to Him who is alone "the 22.) Hath God by his prophet declared truth." It may be said this is strong language; the truth? "Can the Ethiopian change it is so, and truth requires it. (2 John 10, his skin, or the leopard his spots? then 11.) Now what saith the scripture? Why, may ye also do good, that are accustomed of all who believe, they testify that they to do evil." Then this is a complete and are "born again." Do they procure or decisive answer to all the advocates of produce their own birth? No! they are duty-faith in the world; for the mouth of born, "not of blood, nor of the will of the the Lord hath spoken it. flesh, nor of man, but of God." They are a "new creation." Have they created them

it to him that hath ten." Then, in regard to every text adduced, that to some persons seem to favour such views, they declare solemn and incontrovertible facts; but it is man's fiction to say, that because such declarations are made, it is man's duty to believe and repent. A writer in the "Gospel Magazine" well and truly observes,

W. HOLMES. 3, New Street, Dorset Square.

EPISTLES TO THEOPHILUS. Theophilus, I am not at all sorry that you


are the subject of this same incapacity, this same weakness. You may well glory in this infirmity, that the power of Christ may rest upon you.

MY GOOD THEOPHILUS,-You know that it is written that the law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Now you will at once see that this abounding of grace does not mean everywhere where sin hath abounded; sin hath abounded in the Fall, to the final condemnation of thousands, where neither grace nor mercy has ever come. What, then, is the conclusion? it is this, that where conviction, by the power of the Holy Ghost, enters the conscience, there it is, that the sin of the heart is brought to light (Rom. vii. 1), the conscience becomes burdened, and the spirit of such an one is broken down. He tastes the wormwood and the gall, and here, and here only, it is that grace abounds and reigns with unerring and infallible certainty unto eternal life. Do not, my good Theophilus, lose sight of that new covenant to which you belong, nor for one moment be moved by the jargon of those whose "arrogant humility" leads them to boast of yielding themselves up to the letter of Scripture; that is, they are so arrogantly humble, that they content themselves with the sound of the Scriptures, but trouble not themselves about the sense and meaning of the Scriptures. Pity the poor simple Apostle Paul should, in his Epistles, especially those to the Romans, the Galatians, and the Hebrews-pity he took so much trouble to give the sense and meaning of the Scriptures. If he had been but versed in the modern science of uniting free will and free grace, or rather of one time serving one master, namely, free grace, and another time serving another master, namely, free will. O Paul, you simpleton! if you had but known how to serve two masters, you would have had no occasion to say, wherefore serveth the law? You would have had no occasion to say, if by grace it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace. Oh no, the Simeons, or rather Simons of modern times, would teach us to be good Catholics, and be content with the letter. There it is, and we must ask no questions for conscience' sake, nor must we even ask our God and Saviour to open unto us the Scriptures. It is true the opening up of the Scriptures did make the hearts of the disciples burn within them; but I suppose we must not think much of that, because the poor simple disciples had no religion, except what they had from above, which perhaps may, in a measure, account for their being so anxious for many things to be explained to them; and indeed the great Teacher was, and is still, kind to us, even in our weaknesses; and so it was, that for this weakness, this incapacity in not being able to content themselves with the sound without the sense, he indulged them, encouraged this weakness in them, rather than not; for when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples (Mark iv. 34). Well, my good

* See last month's VESSEL, p. 195.

Well, these Simon-anythings happily do not practise all they profess, or not a man of them would have a right eye, a right hand, or a right foot, left; for if they took the letter just as it is, they must, if they practise what they profess, part with at least some of their precious members. Yea, I know not how they could continue to live at all; for it is written, "Put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite' (Prov. xxiii. 2); and I suppose they have such a feeling sometimes as that of appetite. I am sure even for their health's sake I hope they sometimes have this feeling, and I hope they always do their duty, and with heartfelt gratitude at all times thank the Lord for what they have.

But, my good Theophilus, as you belong to the incapacitated, and are so weak-minded that you like to know the sense of things, I must, for your profit as well as my own, just notice a few Scriptures.

"God said, Let there be light, and there was light;" and just so it is where God commands repentance,-He commandeth all men everywhere to repent (Acts xvii. 30). Now look at the explanation of this (Luke xxiv. 47), that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations; and He is exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins; and this Israel are a people out of all nations, for those that be Jews inwardly are the Israelites indeed. Unto these, one by one,-for ye shall be gathered one by one, Oye children of Israel,-unto one by one of these God commands repentance into the heart, as He did into the heart of Saul of Tarsus; and all such, and none but such, will stand well at the judg ment day: and so all Israel shall be saved.

[ocr errors]

"All men everywhere,"-that is, wherever his people are: He knows where they are, and will search out his sheep. This command is like, "Lazarus, come forth!" It is not a mere letter command, but a living command; that is what the Lord is pleased to make it-a living command: no room for duty-repentance here.

Peter's exhortation to Simon Magus I have, as you know, disposed of in a former letter, and that in a manner that no one can gainsay.

Again: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Well, and "except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven;" but is it the duty of the creature to regenerate his own soul? And so a declaration of the necessity of repentance no more implies it was their duty than it was their duty to regenerate their own souls. Its being their duty to repent with a repentance which is unto life and salvation, is an inference that men unwarrantably and unscripturally draw from such scriptures as these. The necessity of repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, is to be preached unto all men. It is a testimony which God will own and bless only let that testimony rest upon right grounds. But these

« FöregåendeFortsätt »